Trumbo Seeks A Competitive Balance





TEMPE, Ariz. Winter ball in Latin America is not a nurturing place for a prospect.

"I had a really poor two or three games," Mark Trumbo said. "I was hearing boos already."

Trumbo quickly turned the boos into cheers, batting .336/.405/.579 for Magallanes of the Venezuelan League. In 28 games, he had 16 extra-base hits—nine doubles, a triple and five home runs—and drove in 21 runs.

"I saw a ton of breaking balls," he said.

That can only help a slugger who can drive a fastball into oblivion but can struggle to make contact.

Trumbo hit 36 home runs at Triple-A Salt Lake last season—tops in all of the minors—but also struck out a career-high 126 times in 139 games. He finished with a .301/.368/.577 average before earning a September callup to the Angels, where he went 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts.

In 2009, Trumbo, 25, hit .291/.333/.452 with 15 homers and 88 RBIs to go with 100 strikeouts and 37 walks. He could be the Angels' Opening Day first baseman, with incumbent Kendry Morales slow to recover from a broken leg. In their first seven Cactus League games, the Angels had three home runs, two by Trumbo. In 18 at-bats, he had five hits—four for extra bases—and six strikeouts.

"He had a terrific season last year, and it's carried over," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Trumbo, an 18th-round pick in 2004 out of Villa Park (Calif.) High. "He's got monster power. I think he'll be fine on the defensive end. We think a lot of him."

ANGEL FOOD

• The Angels kept their uber-prospect in line when Jered Weaver had their spring training scoreboard repeatedly flash this message: "Fans call Angels' Mike Trout with your baseball questions," followed by what by now must be his old cell phone number.

• Minor league catcher Anel de los Santos tore a ligament in his left thumb during spring drills and is expected to sit out 8 to 10 weeks.